Asia India Travelogue

India: A Magical Palace In Mysore


Navdeep remembers Mysore for those crazy, three-foot-long paper dosas, and the rip-off hotel astrologer who, not realizing we were already wed, told Navdeep he’d find his bride somewhere around 34. (We got married when he was 26, and then again at 27.)

Me, I was smitten with the Mysore Palace.

And it was all the more amazing because we weren’t allowed to take photos inside the palace (not even with our phones, not that our phones had that capability way back in 2006), so we’re entirely reliant on our memories of the palace. And for me, that memory is of something magical and fantastical, a colorful amalgam of Mughal and Gothic architecture, a  rainbow mish-mosh of whimsy and fun rarely seen the staid, well-preserved palaces throughout India. In fact, thinking back on it now, it reminds me of one of the particular Newport Mansions that Navdeep and I visited on our traipse to Provincetown last year. It had a definitive sense of place and time, and it left its imprint on my soul.

Ironically, in looking up the Mysore Palace — more properly known as Amba Villas — there’s now a virtual tour of property on the official website. And while the virtual tour does take me back a bit, it’s still not the same as being able to stand small in those massive, history-filled rooms, absorbing it all.

So what I’ve been saying to Navdeep for years still stands: the fact that we don’t have pictures just means that we’ll have to make it a mission to get back there. And now, remembering back to it, I’m sure Kavya would adore all the sunshine that pours in to that storied marriage pavilion hall, embroidered as it is by reds and greens and oranges depicting the Dasara procession. I’m still coveting the carved wood ceilings that marked many of the rooms, and the grandeur of those old courtyards. Imagine little kids — miniature princes and princesses — flying through those hallowed halls as they played tag or gilli-danda. What it must have been like to grow up there.

It’s these little pieces of history, still alive and breathing across the planet, that make travel such an adventure for me. Like that ancient Banyan tree in Lahaina that felt so kindred, something ties me to the Mysore Palace, and I do hope, one day, that I will be able to share it with my little princess.

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